03 December, 2012

Struggles

So. I said before that I wish I'd blogged about our struggles with breastfeeding during the first few months. Now that we're hitting some more struggles, I feel like I need to talk about it. And maybe it'll either help someone else or it'll help me. Either way, it's a total win in my book. So here goes.

Joe was off on Friday. That morning I decided I'd go to the commissary early since it was payday. I nursed Charlotte and it was effortless as usual. She drank her milk, we relaxed in the nursery and cuddled. Then I had Joe feed her some cereal and apples while I got ready to go. 

After I came back from the commissary unscathed {which I'm sure you know is RARE, especially on payday}, the little missy woke up and I went to feed her again. Only...my milk didn't let down. 

Obviously, this had never happened before. And it was/is so random! I assumed it was a fluke, attempted to pump (to no avail) and then gave up. Next feeding? Same thing. And the one after that. I started taking fenugreek again after the 2nd time it didn't let down. I knew something was up and I had fenugreek on hand from when my supply slowed down because of the pill. I even had Joe go get me a beer (the hops help with production)... That just shows you how desperate I was - I HATE beer!

Saturday morning I decided to feed Charlotte in our bed because I'm more relaxed and she's more likely to hang out and try harder. I had felt fairly full that morning, so I thought it would go well. 30 minutes later....nothing. That's when I put in a call to the LC (lactation consultant). She suggested fenugreek (yay, I'd already started!), more pumping, and nipple stimulation. I also had Joe go out and get ingredients for lactation cookies...which I haven't made yet. Fail. I can already tell a difference in my production, though. The let down reflex? Not so much. It still took a while for it to let down for her this morning, BUT it did let down! 

We have another problem now, though. Charlotte's not wanting to nurse. She'll latch for maybe a minute, get irritated and pull off. Sometimes she lasts for a minute or two longer, but she hasn't nursed at all since this morning. Even better (or worse, actually)? She refuses to take a bottle. So not only will she not get milk from me, she doesn't want it at all! I don't get it. 

Looking back over the last few weeks, I'm really wondering if she's wanting to wean. I know it's a bit unusual for babies to wean before 1 year, but... She hasn't been nursing consistently for at least a couple weeks. She would skip feedings completely or she'd take small ones. The only feeding she really takes is the morning one. I'm starting to think I should just try to nurse her in the morning and at night and do something else during the day, when she gets solid food. 

Needless to say, I am extremely frustrated. Between loading up on fenugreek, pumping a gazillion times a day, trying to nurse her and/or coaxing her into taking a bottle... I'm about to lose it. I'm also really sad. I've said it a bazillion times here... I love breastfeeding. A lot. And I really don't want to give it up just because we're in a rough phase.

I mean, seriously, who wants to give up these sweet cuddles?!

So I think I'm going to give it a week. I'm going to try and nurse her as normal, but try and not freak out if she refuses. {No promises on the tears. My mama heart is hurting.} And then I guess I'll reevaluate at the end of the week. I'm thinking about pumping for her, but it might be a hassle since we're flying to NC in a couple weeks and when we get back we're going to be doing PCS-prep. 

I don't know. Honestly, I'm praying that this is just a phase - just one of those times you have to get through to get back to normal. Please say some prayers for us this week, if you think about it. This is tough!!

9 comments:

Chantal said...

I'd keep fighting through! Babies don't self-wean before a year, and some say 2, so there could be all kinds of other factors. Around that age Penny got very difficult during nursing, way too many distractions, so we just had to nurse more often to make sure she got enough. Maybe she's teething and it hurts to nurse. Maybe the solid food is just filling up her tummy too much and she doesn't want milk.

As for the let-down, that's frustrating. I don't feel a let-down very often anymore, but I know milk is coming in because Penny is obviously drinking. That's hard!

shannon said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while now; as a fellow breastfeeding mom (10 days away from nursing a whole year!!) I've enjoyed all your BF posts. I would definitely agree with the above comment, my little girl would get super distracted after 3 or 5 minutes and when she was teething she didn't want to nurse as much either. We started nursing more as well. I know you are following Babywise and I totally respect that (we followed it for a while too, but then settled into our own routine that works best for us) but what you may try is nursing her before naps instead of after, reason being is babies will usually nurse better when sleepy. For about a month or so we would nurse before AND after naps just to be sure she was getting enough. Also, she continued to wake up at night 1 or 2 times and nurse. Again, I know this is not Babywise BUT some babies "reverse cycle" when they get too distracted during the day so they make up for it by nursing a little more at night. Not for everyone I know, but it worked for us and got us thru that stage:) You could also try nursing in the same place everytime so she knows what to expect and keep the room as dark as possible. Just my 2 cents:) Keep pushing thru, you guys have done a great job!

Beth Roberts said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time...never commented though!! Both of my girls, around the age of 6 months, started being SUPER finnicky about nursing. It had to be absolutely SILENT in the room, with no one else around. SOOO frustrating!!! I finally gave in and just pumped exclusively (granted, I had a huge freezer full of milk from pumping from day one, as well). Neither of my girls ever had a bottle. They went straight from nursing to a sippy cup. You might try a sippy cup and see if she'll take that??

threeconejitos said...

Oh man this sucks, my friend. I will keep you in my prayers- I know how special it is to do this, and how sad it would be to have to give it up early : (

Hoping things get back to normal soon!

heather said...

praying. we are going through a rough patch too. however i let down but i dont think i am making enough milk. she is almost 4 months. eating every 3 hrs and for only 22 mins total. she also eats a little cereal before hand for sip up reasons. she wont go longer in between and if i pump i only get 3 ozs TOTAL... i called the LC snd she said as long as she is happy then no big deal, but i worry so much. i understand the momma heart hurting. i cried when i had to pump for a wedding and only got 3 ozs, when 2 weeks before that i had gotten 5 and a half. i hope she starts wanting to nurse soon and that you start letting down more.

jax from the harmon squad said...

I echo the keep fighting through! It stinks when things get difficult! I've had all three of mine go through rough patches with breastfeeding, and all you can do is power through and try not to lose your mind (fighting with a baby is no fun). Charlotte might be going through the opposite of a growth spurt, I forget what it's called, but it's completely normal. Most kids do it, you'll have times where they eat everything in sight followed by a period of time where it seems like they don't eat anything. The only advice I can give is to try feeding her all the time (like every hour) to keep your supply up. Even if you don't get much out it can help you from drying up. Good luck, I'm praying for you!!

Maranda said...

Both of my kids stopped wanting to nurse at 6 months old. I have big babies and I'm not a big person (especially in the chest area!). Whether that was a factor or not, I simply wasn't producing enough for their needs any longer. One suggestion I would make (and since you're a BW mom you prob already know...both my kids are BW kids!) is to make sure you're offering the breast BEFORE any other type of food...cereal, veggie, fruit, etc. Their main source of nutrition should still me milk at this age.

I got frustrated as well when both of mine stopped wanting to nurse at 6 months. I loved being their only source of nutrition! It was the bond and the snuggle time that I was so desperately not ready to leave behind. However, I realized that frustration on my part only made the process harder! Pray for peace if it's time to stop, strength if you're powering through, and wisdom to know the right choice!

Sven & Trin said...

I like Maranda's last sentence! My Little self-weaned, but he was 13 months and we never fought, he just wasn't interested anymore. Make sure you're drinking plenty (read: a lot) of water. That helped my supply. And someone else suggested a sippy cup instead of a bottle, I was going to say the same thing. Can't hurt to try if its expressed milk anyway and maybe your little one is just super independent!
What a bummer.

Katy said...

Don't give up Mama! Since she's still eating well in the morning and at night she definitely still sees nursing with you as a comfort. Maybe she's full from eating other food during the day? And you said she's refusing a bottle, but have you tried giving her a sippy cup? My middle child never took a bottle and initial attempts with a sippy cup were frustrating but around 8 or 9 months we found one she liked. If she's still eating other stuff well I'd say my next thought isn't incredibly likely, but if she's only nursing for short periods and seems fussy maybe her ears hurt. The sucking and swallowing would exaggerate this feeling :(
I know the heart ache of letting babies wean off and the struggle to let go of that extra attachment. Just remember you are doing amazing things for her no matter what happens. Any breast milk she gets is better than none, and you can still mix the milk into her cereal.